Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann

Shayna Baszler and Sara McMann

For former Olympic silver medal winning wrestler Sara McMann, the transition to MMA has gone as well as can be expected. And even though she’s undefeated in five pro fights, McMann still feels she still hasn’t reached her peak quite yet.

“I’m starting to feel like I’m finding a little bit more of my niche in MMA,” said McMann. “Basically I feel the natural fighter I am is going to be revealed through practice and more competition.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had one competition that I didn’t look back and think that I couldn’t have done better in some area. I’m always critiquing it to do better next time.”

McMann’s immediate success so far has culminated in a fight headlining Invicta FC’s second card on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan., against longtime veteran Shayna “Queen of Spades” Baszler.

“I think it’s going to be action-packed, exciting and both of us are going to go for stuff and not sit around and wait for things to happen,” McMann said to of the fight.

McMann isn’t shy when it comes to what will be the focal point of her strategy against Baszler.

“Because of my wrestling background I like to control people and get my hands on them,” she said. “Wresting teaches you putting their body in positions you want them to be in and where you want to be. That’s just a natural thing for me to. That’s absolutely part of my game plan.”

Having garnished a fair amount of buzz since making her pro debut two years ago, McMann has learned to be ready for any situation that may arise in her career.

“In the MMA world, things can happen at a snail’s pace for months, but then things can come together all at once and you’ll have lots of competition back-to-back. So for me it’s growing at the fastest rate I can and be ready for a big jump at any point,” she said.

“A ProElite show could come up in August or September, another Invicta card might come up or we might think we’re ready for Strikeforce. We’re kind of at the mercy of the sport and just try to make the right decisions along the way.”

Considering her career path has run parallel that of current Strikeforce women’s 135-pound champion and fellow former Olympic medalist Ronda Rousey, a match-up between the two seems inevitable, though McMann isn’t so singularly focused.

“I really plan on fighting all the top girls, every single one of them,” she said. “I’m looking to fight Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis, Marloes Coenen; any of the girls who are good enough to be champion. I’m not really setting my sites at one person – I want to beat them all.”

E-mail Mick Hammond
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